On 7-9 November 2018, in Thessaloniki, the first Intercultural Integration Academy was held at the initiative of the Intercultural Cities programme of the Council of Europe and the Symbiosis-School of Political Studied in Greece.
The Academy gathered representatives from the municipalities of Thessaloniki, Athens, Heraklion, Ioannina, Pireus and Trikala to discuss and share successful approaches of dealing with diversity and discussing outstanding challenges among peer local authorities. It also offered an opportunity to interested municipalities to appropriate the intercultural integration concept through an immersive and interactive three-day platform. Intercultural Cities offers, in fact, to its member a comprehensive range of instruments and methodologies to develop inclusion strategies: benchmarking, policy reviews and recommendations, peer and expert advice for policy innovation, impact evaluation and communication.
The methodology of the Academy is based on the inclusive integration concept endorsed by more than 120 cities all around the world that are developing comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies based on a shared vision designed together with citizens. A range of studies have demonstrated that cities which adopt inclusive integration policies see better outcomes in terms of residents’ perceptions of cohesion, trust in the administration, safety, quality of services, welfare, good governance and economic growth.
The Academy curriculum was developed specifically for the Greek Municipalities with the support of the Greek partner Symbiosis and focused on the topics of intercultural competences, messaging, antirumour, diversity advantage in the economic sector and community development applied to public spaces and the cultural heritage sector.